Grant Fredericks ANA CEO (left) and Stanley Mutoya, AU Sports Council CEO at the Regional Annual Sports Awards (RASA). Photo ANA/Simphiwe Mbokazi

Ekurhuleni - The African News Agency (ANA) and the African Union (AU) Sport Council have pledged to expose and showcase to the world the talent of athletes from the 10 countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

The agreement was signed on Saturday night as South African and Botswana athletes scooped top honours at the 3rd AU Regional Annual Sport Awards (RASA) at the Birchwood Hotel in Ekurhuleni, a day after the continent celebrated Africa Day. 

Botswana's 400m sprinter Karabo Sibanda was the night's biggest winner. The 19-year-old raced past South Africa's Luvo Manyongo and Zimbabwe's Samson Muripo to win the sportsperson of the year award. He also took the junior sportsman of the year gong.

ANA, which has forged alliances with news partners across Africa, including the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Namibia Press Agency (Nampa), and The Source, is Africa's first syndicated, multimedia news and content distribution service.

The AU Sport Council aims to encourage and promote the development of all sporting codes in the SADC region. The partnership with the AU will be mutually beneficial. The AU will generate the content about local athletes from SADC countries, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, and Angola. It will work with various sports entities in these nations to tell positive stories. The content will then be supplied to ANA which disseminates it using various platforms.

ANA CEO Grant Fredericks said this was a golden opportunity to educate the international community about African sports personnel. 

"We intend to change the narrative of how the African continent is perceived across the world. We believe that this strategic partnership will aid us to ensure that we inform the world about the true narrative of what Africa is all about. We hope this initiative will create credible content to flow through the ANA platforms to the global audience,” said Fredericks.

AU Sport Council CEO Stanley Mutoya said the partnership would benefit local athletes. “We are determined to make sure that Southern Africa and the rest of the continent get news and content that celebrates the achievements of our athletes. Some people have heard news about our region elsewhere; we want them to hear them from us. We want to tell our own stories,” said Mutoya.

Mutoya hoped the initiative would come into effect soon. “The partnership will be mutually beneficial. Working with ANA is very strategic as it has footprints across the continent and abroad. 

"Our presence is in 10 member countries. Therefore, we need to work with umbrella institutions to help us stimulate growth in terms of content distribution. We want to showcase the talent of our athletes to the whole world,” he said.

African News Agency/ANA